This weekend I went along to Dominic Hodgson’s Impact Pet Business Success Summit in sunny Sunderland.
I was invited to talk about PR and how media coverage can help pet businesses by Dominic who is a pet marketing coach who I met a couple of years back.
Dominic spoke about marketing – his goal is to give members of his Grow Your Pet Business Fast Community the practical skills and knowledge to position themselves as the expert in their community.
Stephen Craven from Clicks Into Customers spoke about Facebook ads, Alex ‘the video guy’ Wardle from Artifact Media talked about video and Vicky Fraser, a coach who helps business owners write books at VickyFraser.com spoke about books.
It was an absolutely epic event and I’m still buzzing from the brilliant pet business owners I met.
Inspiring is a word we bander around a lot and the delegates really did blow me away.
It was a massive eye opener to see how hard they work as groomers, walkers and trainers.
Dominic is by his own admission a Marmite character. You love him or hate him and wow there was a lot of love in that room!
I only got a small insight into the power of the support and marketing advice he gives his tribe but it works.
There were pet professionals there commanding rates ten times more than the national average and rightly so.
The transformations they give their clients are something you can’t put a price on.
I so enjoyed speaking to his clients, learning about what they do and hearing story after story about people doing remarkable things for our pets.
It was also an opportunity to meet people who have read my book and taken action (Dom is BIG on this) and had stories and features about their businesses in newspapers and magazines.
I learned so so much and there was LOT of information to take in. Vicky blogged about ‘Option Paralysis,’ which is where you are faced with so many things to do, you do nothing.
She’s a brilliant writer and you can read her post here.
These were the six things I learned.
- There’s a lot more to running a pet business than social media
I knew this already but these guys are killing it by putting on events, creating physical and digital products, writing books, creating programmes.
They’re growing their brands by getting off their phones or computers and out in the real world, getting in front of people, collaborating with other businesses that compliment what they do.
They’re creating their own media, so blogs, podcasts, newsletters and it’s making them stand out among the competition.
In my presentation I talked about how getting in the media can help a business ‘Rise above the froth,’ but there’s lots of other ways to do this too.
Take a look at this AMAZING video from Claire Lawrence from High Peak Dog Services who won The Impact Award for PBIC Marketer of the Year and you’ll get the gist.
2. It’s no good being a ‘busy fool.’
“Most pet professionals end up working long hours for low pay and end up eating beans on toast every night,” says Dom. It’s easy to be a busy fool.
I’m guilty of this myself. Instead of planning for the future and valuing my skills and experience, I will take on laborious work for low pay.
This is something I need to stop doing and listening to how others in the room had done this gave me a massive kick up the bum.
3. People ARE willing pay a premium for your experience
According to this article in the Telegraph, dog walkers earn around £11.50 an hour.
Most of the people I met this weekend were on at least 50 per cent more than that. It’s easy to worry that you’re going to cut off a lot of customers if you charge more.
But when it comes to our pets, we don’t see the price tag. The pet professionals I met were offering something different to a bog standard walk.
Dog running, dog adventures, enrichment experiences, sniffing trails. By creating something different you make your business more desirable.
4. Like attracts like.
Each of the speakers talked about values and finding clients who share the same values and beliefs that you do.
This way you attract people who you want to work with and who ‘get’ what you do and why it’s important to them and their dog.
As Dan Kennedy says, it’s about communicating this message, ‘here’s what I’m all about and here’s why you should choose me.’
It means you REPEL the people who don’t get you. Dom calls these ‘bottom feeder clients.’ It makes total sense.
5. We need to value ourselves.
Vicky Fraser highlighted something interesting. Most of the people in the room were women, yet the famous dog trainers are men.
As women we need to be pushing ourselves forwards as experts. I personally have real blocks when it comes to money, I hate talking about it.
But being in the room and hearing how Dom’s clients were cranking up their prices over and over again made me see that I can do it.
If people don’t feel my experience and skills are worth it then I don’t want to be working with them. One of the trainers did SEVEN increases in a year!
6. We are stronger together.
Every pet professional I spoke to talked about the value of being part of a community. Having the support from Dominic was great.
But having other people in the group to bounce ideas off or to get advice from about pets or clients is so important too.
Not just that, the men and women in that room were there to prop each other up through the other stuff that life throws at us, relationship break ups, illness, family problems.
Dominic has created something really special and it was brilliant to be part of it for a day – I know that sounds gushing but it’s true.
I want to say a MASSIVE thanks to Dominic for inviting me along. It was an absolute honour to have been part of the line up of experts with Vicky, Alex, Dom and Stephen.
And to the PBIC members – never stop being awesome!
If you fancy coming along to Impact 2020 tickets are on sale now. Find out more about the event and Dominic at www.growyourpetbusinessfast.com/impact2020/